Category Archives: Other

This Blog is a Denial-Free Zone

I’ve been hit by a lot of spam since my last post (could be a coincidence …). One post actually did relate to the contents of this blog. For that person’s benefit I am going to repeat what I’ve posted before. This is a denial-free zone on the topic of climate change. I’m not going to argue with you about climate science, neither am I going to allow you to post climate-denial claims. I believe what 98% of the climate scientists in the world are telling us. That does not make me an extremist – it makes me mainstream.

I am going to take this opportunity to respond to your assertion that people who accept personal responsibility for their impact on the environment by acting to reduce their carbon footprint are anti-science, anti-technology and anti-trade.
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Moving the Conversation

I have become the administrator of the blog for Transition Longfellow. I am moving the pages of information about the discussion groups — personal permaculture and preparedness — to that blog. If you would like to participate in the ongoing discussion and resource sharing with members of those groups, you can do so at that blog.

I will likely still write about the actions Peter and I take as a result of group participation, but shifting the bulk of the conversation there relieves me of feeling I’m inappropriately speaking for the group or the neighborhood when I am, in fact, just one voice.

Find Funding to Start Something

I’ve been doing research on foundation and government money available for urban agriculture, climate action and sustainability. I was pleased to learn that the McKnight Foundation and 3M Foundation are putting significant resources into climate action (though not through open grantmaking). McKnight committed $100 million to fight climate change, working with other foundation funders in a network called ClimateWorks.

I thought I’d share a few of the resources I found to raise money for youth and community projects. I’ll revisit this theme in future.

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Study Finds 10% of Newborns Around Lake Superior with High Mercury Levels

The Minnesota Department of Health has released the findings of a two-year study of mercury levels in the blood of newborns along the shores of Lake Superior in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The results?

Ten percent (10%) of newborns in Minnesota had unhealthy levels of mercury in their bloodstream. They had suffered environmental poisoning before they even had a chance to take a breath. (Three percent of Wisconsin newborns had unhealthy levels of mercury. None of the newborns in Michigan were affected.) Continue reading

What makes it a “green” sex toy?

When we saw that the latest issue of “Curves” magazine had an article on “green” sex toys, we just had to buy it – you know, in the interest of science. Now, before you roll your eyes, we don’t believe that the fate of the world hinges on the composition of a vibrator. But the article does provide a fun opportunity to  think about how a commitment to sustainability may impact every aspect of life.

And, as you’ll see, it provided us with a good opportunity to think about “greenwashing.”

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Home Funerals and Green Burials

Last week we attended a seminar organized by the Minnesota Threshold Network. I’ve  been interested in green burial ever since I heard about it from a funeral director when I volunteered at hospice. The trouble is, it has been illegal in Minnesota — until now.

Thanks to the work of State Rep. Carolyn Laine, Minnesota families now have choices about how to conduct funerals and burials. (But we may not have these options for very long. HF1744 has been introduced in the state legislature and it evidently would repeal some or all of the rights only recently gained. As I understand it, the president of the funeral director’s assn is a constituent of the bill’s sponsor.)

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Move Over Green, Here Comes the Blue Economy

At the Longfellow Sustainability book group meeting today we talked a bit about economic growth and development. Some of us feel the economic downturn is going to continue until we reach a level that is sustainable. Some feel development can continue to move forward at high speed but it needs to move in a vastly different direction.

It’s not evident that we are making progress in this arena, but progress is being made. Check out this website about the Blue Economy and the work of Gunter Pauli.

“The blue economy is using the waste of one product as the input for another. These innovations will revolutionize the industries they are applied in, making consumption of those products a positive action. Thus, it will become possible to live in a sustainable way, responding to all basic needs for water, food, energy, health and shelter.”

You can hear and see some examples of what Mr. Pauli is talking about in this video:

A Resilient, Sustainable Community Produces What it Needs

This month we’re reducing paper use and one of my biggest areas of paper consumption is “facial tissue” (kleenex). In preparation for this challenge, I ordered cloth handkerchiefs online. When they arrived, I was dismayed  to see that they had been made in China and each handkerchief had a paper label telling me so.

Really, can’t we make handkerchiefs in the U.S.?

I shared my disappointment at last week’s meeting of the Longfellow Sustainability Group  and we got to talking about local companies where useful products can be found. That led to a conversation about buying local and buying U.S. if you can’t buy local. Someone recommended the website

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